For Christian faith, predestination is a vision of the King in the glory of his grace, and a warning against transposing the revelation of the majesty of his mercy into any concatenated scheme of human logic. It proclaims the freeness of God’s saving grace in Christ, without making of his will an arbitrary fatalism. The ways of him who predestines are past our tracing out, and the mystery thereof bids us worship where we cannot fathom.

Historically, Augustine of Hippo formulated triple predestination, that is: general predestination or providence which magnifies God’s wisdom in governing all things, special predestination or election in which his free grace is seen in the choice of his people, and preterition or reprobation by which he passes by and leaves other sinners to the due desert of their guilt for the manifestation of his power and justice.

In the English Bible, the verb predestinate occurs in the eighth of Romans and in the first chapter of Ephesians. The Apostle introduces us to this high theme from the viewpoint of a pastor and in the context of a congregation, rather than as a logician of a philosophical school. In this setting we confront not abstract decrees set and established in the distant past, but the living God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ predestining and gathering to himself his family, adopting them in the Son of his love, and leading them to the praise of the glory of his unspeakable grace. Thus considered, predestination is personal, Christocentric, and gracious. This revelation of the living God who personally predestines delivers us from an impersonal petrification of predestination. Its center in Christ gives us the assurance of faith and saves the believer from that deadly labyrinth which ...

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